“I feel great optimism. Madad put an end to my dark days”

Date: Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Tajdid programme officers visit Leila’s home in Tikrit, Iraq. Photo: Mahmood Mossa

Leila Sultan Afsan, 45 years old, and her younger sister used to have a relatively good life in Siniyah in Salah al-Din Province in Iraq until the Islamic State for Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) took over their town.

When their house was destroyed during the battle to liberate the town from ISIL, Leila and her sister were displaced. They now rent a basic room in Tikrit.

When she heard from other women about a cash-for-work programme, Leila visited the Tِِِajdid Iraq Foundation for Economic Development. Tajdid is working in partnership with UN Women on the Regional Programme “Strengthening the Resilience of Syrian Women and Girls and Host Communities in Iraq, Jordan and Turkey”, funded by the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis (the EU “Madad” Fund).

“I’ve come to you after talking to women who have worked with you and were happy with your help,” said Leila, referring to the cash-for-work programme that the centre offers to women. “I also need you to help me stand on my own feet. My mental state is deteriorating, and our situation is desperate.” The Tajdid team explained to her the different services the Madad programme offers to women, including psychological and legal aid as well as trainings to acquire income-generating skills and cash for work opportunities.

The Tajdid team scheduled a visit to Leila’s meagre accommodation and once they confirmed that her living conditions were indeed precarious, she qualified for support in line with Tajdid’s vulnerability scale which prioritizes women according to the gravity of their needs.

Leila started attending workshops designed to provide psychological and rehabilitation services to women in similar situations as well as trainings that empower women by providing them with livelihood opportunities and vocational trainings, including entrepreneurship and business skills.

Thanks to the cash-for-work programme, Leila now works as a cleaner at a local school. She earns a living which allows her and her younger sister to have a better life.

“I feel great improvement and optimism. Madad put an end to my dark days.” Said Leila.

Since 2018, through the Madad programme, 196 women in Iraq have benefitted from cash-for-work opportunities. Ultimately, the programme aims to support women to be more self-reliant and resilient to the hardships of life in displacement.